Economy & Politics

Innovation hotel chain 25hours: scaling individuality

The 25hours Hotel Company's idea finders first explore the area to find concept ideas for their new homes
The 25hours Hotel Company’s idea finders first explore the area to find concept ideas for their new homesimago images / Future Image

Germany’s most innovative company: and Statista have filtered 442 innovation drivers out of almost 1,800 candidates. In our series of articles we present a selection of the award-winning companies. Our infographic shows an overview of the complete evaluation

“Everything will be about storytelling,” says Lisa Strunz, clicking on one sketch at a time on her laptop. The concept developer of the 25hours Hotel Company presents the plans of the future branch in Dubai, which is to open in 2021, to colleagues in a meeting room at the company’s headquarters in Hamburg’s Hafencity.

There will be a fountain with books in the lobby, spanned by a fabric canopy with comic-style artwork. The event area next to the hotel is reminiscent of a drive-in cinema – including an air-conditioned mini, in which you can retreat to watch movies.

Environment as the best inspiration

The fact that crazy ideas turn into real hotels is part of 25hours’ DNA: the Viennese house resembles a circus. In Bikini Berlin at the Zoological Garden, travelers and locals immerse themselves in a city jungle. And in Düsseldorf Das Tour, hotel guests will find their bathtub on the balcony.

“The immediate vicinity of the locations often gives us the best inspiration,” says Henning Weiß, who has been involved in new concepts since the company was founded 15 years ago. For days, 25hours employees explore the area with designers and architects, collect ideas and jointly develop a kind of script: the “Bible”.

A good plan to hold on to is becoming more and more important for the company, because the number of beats is increasing: initially, a new 25hours hotel opened every two or three years. In total, there are now 13. In 2021, two new houses are to be launched. Last year the chain generated around 122 million euros with around 1,000 employees.

“They really feel like doing something cool”

The ideas team always includes specialists from within the company who are familiar with the catering trade and project management. But external interior designers and design offices also play an important role – not least because of the growing distance to the projects. “We cannot be on site as often in Dubai or Melbourne as in Düsseldorf or Copenhagen,” says Anne van Wetteren, who forms the 25hours concept team together with Lisa Strunz.

The French hotel giant Accor (Novotel, Mercure, Sofitel), which increased its stake in the Hamburg-based company to 50 percent a year ago, primarily supports expansion abroad. They have never slowed down the group managers, says van Wetteren, on the contrary: “They really want to do something cool.”

Creative ideas against the corona slack

The consequences of the Corona pandemic also slowed down business significantly, but not creativity. In response to the measures, 25hours launched two concepts. At all of our locations, business came to a complete standstill for about two months, says Bruno Marti, Chief Brand Officer of the hotel chain. During the lockdown, the idea arose to offer their own hotel rooms for home office guests. In the “best” weeks before the easing, every hotel had three to five guests a day, Marti recalls. “Even 50 rooms a day is just a drop in the bucket with around 1000 hotel rooms in the group,” says Marti. “But we are hosts and were happy to receive guests at all.”

Even after the lockdown, when at least some of the overnight guests were allowed to come back, the hotel chain launched a new concept: Since June, hotel guests have also been able to book longer-term stays. “This is also not a mass business, but in all destinations there were inquiries in the first two weeks and maybe a dozen bookings in total,” says Marti. “We are not over the mountain yet. But if we didn’t think it could be done, we could leave it at once. That is why we try to go full throttle with the limited resources. ”

The Study on the most innovative German companies was published in 03/2020. Important note: The investigation was carried out before the outbreak of the corona pandemic. Methodology: This is how the most innovative companies were identified
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